Workhorse born to be wild

2011-07-08 10:18

However, in order to really break ground, VW needed a workhorse to

take on the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Nissan Hardbody. At the world launch,

we discovered that the Amarok single-cab might just be that workhorse.

Drawing on the success of the double-cab version – a finalist for

the Car Of The Year Award last year (a first for any pickup) – the single-cab is just as

impressive.

Six single-cab models, all powered by the latest turbo-diesel

engines, will be available immediately, to be followed by two

advanced-technology, direct-injection, petrol-engine derivatives in the last

quarter of this year.

All models will be available in either Basic or Trendline trim

levels with 4 Motion four-wheel drive available on three of the six diesel

variants.

With a length of 5.254m, a width of 1.944m and a height of 1.82m, the

Amarok has been designed for maximum space and load efficiency with styling that

reflects the VW design DNA. Payload capacity is 1?225kg and 1?354kg, depending

on the model.

This, combined with the large load-box area, improves delivery

efficiencies. At the launch, we loaded the vehicles with bags of cement. The

120kW BiTurbo derivatives were loaded with 700kg and the 90kW models 300kg.

This weight did not have much effect – the 120kW model with its

massive 400Nm of torque still pulled up the Eastern Cape hills with ease. The

90kW model with 340Nm did, however, need some gear changing but it never felt as

if it was struggling.

The ride without the load is impressive. The Amarok feels more like

a car than a bakkie. The cabin is solid and ergonomic. It does exude its

utilitarian aspects – plastics are hard and feel “cheap” – but this is a

workhorse. This all adds up to a user-friendly cabin with reduced fatigue and

enhanced productivity, especially relevant in commercial applications.

The Amarok excels in driver safety. The double-cab received a

four-star Euro NCAP safety rating in tests conducted last year, the best result

for any pickup tested by Euro NCAP to date.

Included in the safety specification

across the range are: ABS, EBD and a traction control system. A driver’s side

airbag is provided in the Basic specification with the option to upgrade to a

passenger-side airbag with deactivation switch.

Driver and passenger airbags are included in the Trendline

specification. Daytime running lights feature across the range. The Amarok’s impressive safety features don’t just work on tar.

An

enhancement to the ABS system fitted as standard to both the Basic and Trendline

specifications is off-road ABS. With this system, functionality is optimised on

loose surfaces.

Stopping distances are reduced by the system, allowing the

wheels to lock momentarily to allow small “wedges” of loose material to build up

in front of the tyres before the wheel is freed to rotate again.

While on

launch, VW sent us into the bush to fully experience the Amarok’s off-road

durability. The advanced 4 Motion system allows you to take the Amarok wherever

you see fit. It’s off-road capability is up there with the best of them, if not

better.

I was surprised by the single cab. I thought there is no way it

could better the mighty Hilux. But after spending some quality time with the

Amarok, I’m pleased to say the Hilux should be worried – the Amarok is here and

ready to work.

It’s saying that it is time for us to open our eyes and see there

are other options out there.


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